May 27, 2021


National Automobile & Electric Co. (1900-1902)
National Vehicle Co. (1902-1904)
National Motor Vehicle Co. (1904-1916)
National Motor Car & Vehicle Corp. (1916-1924)
Indianapolis, Indiana

This is a National radiator emblem (1920-1924)     mjs
Size: 53mm diameter    MM: Unknown

The first National car produced by the National Automobile & Electric Company appeared in 1901 and was a simple tiller-steered electric, which was offered in a wide variety of body styles. The company also produced horse drawn carriages but this part of the company was sold in 1902 and the company reorganized as the National Vehicle Company to concentrate on electric vehicles.

In 1903 National introduced a new model called the Long Distance, having claimed that one of its electrics had run 118 miles on a single charge. The National Electric Long Distance had a brass hood to resemble a gasoline car. A real gasoline car was introduced in 1903 in 8 hp two-cylinder and 16 hp four-cylinder versions.

In 1904 the company was reorganized again to become the National Motor Vehicle Company and electrics were phased out in 1906. Only larger 20 hp and 40 hp four-cylinder models were available in 1904 and a 50/60 hp six-cylinder model appeared in 1906. National cars took part in the early years of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and were well placed in a number of dirt track events. Three National cars entered the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911 and a National took seventh place. In 1912 a National was driven to victory at the Indianapolis 500 with an average speed of 78.22 mph. In 1915, National introduced the Highway Twelve with an engine of its own design.

There was a change of management in 1916 and the company was reorganized as the National Motor Car & Vehicle Corporation. The Highway Twelve was discontinued after 1919 and National produced six-cylinder models only in the 1920's. National suffered from the post World War I depression and in 1922 National merged with the Dixie Flyer (see Dixie Flyer) and the Jackson (see Jackson) to form Associated Motor Industries. The Dixie Flyer and Jackson names were discontinued and these cars became National models. A new low-priced six-cylinder National was introduced as Models 6-51 and 6-71 but only show models and pilot models were built. In 1923 National was sued for failure to pay creditors and receivership followed. The National was finished by 1924.


The earliest National electric cars and the first gasoline models produced up to 1904 would not have been expected to have carried an emblem but would have displayed the "National" name on small maker's nameplates/serial plates attached to the body of the car.  

However, it is possible that the early brass National nameplate shown below may have been displayed at the rear of some early National cars, but I cannot confirm this. If the following is an original National car nameplate, it would be extremely rare.

This may be a National car nameplate (c1903-1904)    alt
Size: Unknown     MM: Unknown

A surviving National Model C car with the distinctive circular radiator shell, dated as 1904 but clearly a 1905 model year car, displays a small rectangular plate at the top of the radiator shell, see photos shown below. This plate is believed to be a radiator maker's nameplate. The "National" radiator script is not original and was most likely added during restoration.

National Md C with radiator shell nameplate (1904)  chuckstoyland

Close-up showing radiator nameplate (1904) 

The "National" name was displayed in capital letters on the hubcaps, see example shown below:

National Model C hubcap (1904)    hcg

The National used a "National" script logo trademark from 1905. This new "National" script logo was shown in National advertisements and on the National maker's nameplate/serial plate, see example shown below. This National nameplate/serial plate is rare.

This is a National nameplate/serial plate with logo (c1906)  mjs
Size: 68mm high 54mm high

The small rectangular radiator maker's nameplate shown earlier above was soon replaced by a small brass "National" script radiator emblem either embossed or brazed onto the radiator shell, as shown in the following 1905 National advertisement, which also shows the new "National" script logo trademark:

National ad showing the new script logo (1905)    pinterest

Close-up showing "National" script radiator emblem (1905)

The advertisement above with the "National" script radiator emblem shows a National Model D, which may have first appeared in late 1905 for the 1906 model year. This "National" script radiator emblem was used through 1907, see illustration shown below from a 1907 National brochure:

National Model L with script radiator emblem (1907)  chuckstoyland

From about 1906, the National hubcap emblem was changed to show the new "National" script logo, see example shown below:

National hubcap (1908)    hyman  

From 1908, the National had a new style radiator, which carried a small "National" script either stamped or brazed onto the top of the radiator shell, see original photo shown below:

National car showing a small script radiator emblem (1908)     dpl 

The "National" script radiator emblem is more clearly seen in the following photo of a surviving National Model N radiator:

National Model N showing script radiator emblem (1908)  hyman

This "National" script radiator emblem continued in use on National cars through 1918. The following is a later nickel plated version of this "National" script radiator emblem, which was originally soldered to the radiator top. This National script radiator emblem is rare. 

This is a National script radiator emblem (c1915)    mjs
Size: 100mm wide

National cars also displayed the "National" name on brass "National" scripts, which were displayed on the radiator core from about 1907. Original photos show a variety of different sizes of the "National" radiator script and locations on the radiator, see some examples shown below:

National photo set (1907)  chuckstoyland   

National car (1909)    dpl

National on the Munsey Reliability Tour (1909)  dpl

However, from about 1910 until about 1919, National cars displayed a "National" radiator script of medium size, mounted at an oblique angle at the upper right corner of the radiator below the small "National" script radiator emblem, see example shown below:

National Six showing radiator script and emblem (1917)  hcg

These National radiator scripts were polished metal or nickel plated before 1915 and usually painted black after 1915, see worn example shown below. Original National radiator scripts are scarce.

This is a National radiator script (c1918)     mjs
Size: 290mm wide

From 1916 until 1919, National Highway Twelve models displayed a brass numeral "12" in a circle mounted just below the radiator script, see example National "12" script shown below:

This is a National Twelve radiator script (1916-1919)   mjs
Size: 82mm diameter

The following is a black painted National wire wheel hub emblem. This National wire wheel emblem is scarce.

This is a National wire wheel hub emblem (c1916)   mjs
Size: 69mm diameter     MM: D L Auld

In 1920, the "National" script radiator emblem shown earlier was replaced by a round metal National radiator emblem, see example shown below:

National showing a radiator emblem (1919)     hcg

This is the metal National radiator emblem shown above at the top of this post and again below. This National radiator emblem is scarce.

This is a National radiator emblem (1920-1924)    mjs
Size: 53mm diameter   MM: Unknown

The final, low-priced six-cylinder National Models 6-31 and 6-71 made in 1923-1924 carried a new oval shaped National radiator emblem, see Model 6-71 brochure illustration shown below:

National 6-71 with oval rad emblem (1923-24) aaca

This oval emblem is the blue and white enamel National radiator emblem shown below. This emblem was only used for a few pilot and show cars and is extremely rare.

This is a National radiator emblem (1923-1924)    mjs
Size: 90mm wide 52mm high   MM: Unknown

The following is a National hubcap:

This is a National hubcap (dates uncertain)     dnc

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